Added a mood board to images section of post–Mood boards inspire the design process. Includes motion oriented symbols, interesting typography, creative use of arrows and circular/triangular iconnography, and superhero icons (inspiration for a new Tidyman symbol) ...
Rough comps (early iteration stage) for new recycling symbol system
Working through the idea of combining these 3 concepts into each new recycling symbol: 1) new icon + 2) simple directional statement (like "Recycle Me" or "Compost Me" or "Stick Me by the Curb") + 3) Jes' idea of motivational statements. Meaning that once a symbol system is designed, then companies can use the system as-is, or they can brand the refreshed icons with their own directional and motivational (and translated) statements.
Started to illustrate icons. (See images section of post.) Decided to focus first on glass, plastic and can recycling. Am testing them in 1-color and in small scale to simulate how they'd reproduce on packaging AND to see if they're actually legible (and universal enough). Working through icons to make plastic distinct enough from glass.
From a typography perspective, played up the letter "r" (for recycle) and "c" (for compost). Turned those letters into the arrow that symbolically designates "recycle" or "reuse." Drawn to two Google fonts: Raleway (since it's almost perfectly round) and Roboto. Roboto is used in Google Glass. It's crisp and legible at small scale. And has a great condensed version.
Started playing around with 3D icons, motion and introduced very basic color. Digging Jes' idea of adding motion to icons. Check out the new accessibility icon as an example. Here's a FastCo article about the revamped accessibility icon here. And, take a look at AIGA's symbol icons here which apparently are pretty universally recognizable.
Next steps: Keep illustrating and iterating until something seems to work. Start linking motivational language to icons. Jes, I think I'll try to update Tidyman visually to superhero status -- to go along with your "Well Done Superhero" motivational statement. Tidyman, aka Recycleman, can hold it down with Spiderman and Batman. (This is Tidyman's current look.) Having a superhero recyling symbol might be a way to engage children...
Goal: Design a set of universal recycling symbols
Sub-goal: Draft accompanying sample text per icon that clearly states how a product should be recycled (like the Sweetgreen example below), possibly with motivational language. Example of strong motivational language on Johnson & Johnson's Baby Lotion (plastic product packaging) is, "Our Babies Will Inherit Our Planet. Please Recycle."
Initial research: What are the most commonly used, global recycling symbols currently? I think it may be these:
- Recyclable (mobius loop)
- Glass Recycling
- Aluminum Recycling
- Steel Recycling
- Wood Recycling (recycled content/FSC)
- Paper Recycling
- Plastic Recycling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
- The Green Dot
- Made of Recycled Content
- Waste Electricals
- Be Tidy! (Tidyman)
Reference these links to see where the most overlap in iconography occurs:
Research fonts, quick icon sketches, toss around some directional/motivational language ideas to accompany icons...
Attached are photos of a branded Sweetgreen plastic cup. Sustainability is a clear part of the company's brand voice. The subtle humor of the cup telling the consumer to “Compost Me” is engaging and fun. The message on the cup says:
Compostable in municipal or institutional facilities, which may not be available in your area. Not suitable for home composting."
The general concept is a win:
- Companies can customize tone/style based on brand voice.
- Language can be localized.
- Confusing recycling symbols are removed.
- The language is clear and instructs the consumer exactly how to recycle the product.
Granted, this particular Sweetgreen message is still a tad confusing: What do I do if composting isn’t available in my area?–Can I recycle the cup with other plastics? Where do I find out about local composting facilities?... If the message also added a URL directing to local recycling facilities (like Recyclebank.com) then the consumer isn't necessarily stuck with good intentions, but not enough info to take further action.